The Molting Process of Hermit Crabs

Before I start to tell you what the molting process of a hermit crab is, I am going to explain exactly what molting is.  According to Merriam Webster dictionary molting is “to shed hair, feathers, shell, horns, or an outer layer periodically”.  So basically it is shedding their exoskeleton so they can grow a better stronger one.  As a young crab they may molt several times a year but as they mature they only molt once a year or even every other year.

When a hermit crab is ready to molt it will build a tunnel for itself in the sand.  They go into the sand to protect themselves from outside things that could effect their molting.  If you choose to have a hermit crab as a pet you need to look for the signs they are ready to molt.  Things you may notice are the crab might start to put itself in sand piles, trying to hide itself.  You will also notice that the crab is not moving around too much.  The crabs appearance will also change, the color of their eyes and shell will become lighter.

The behavior of the crab may also change.  The crab may begin to come more energetic.  If your crab is usually pretty laid back but recently is crawling all over the place at rapid speeds, it is probably ready to molt.  When ready to molt hermit crabs will eat and drink more than they usually do.  If you find them sitting in the water dish they are probably ready to molt.  When you realize they are ready you should then put them in another private tank.  Make sure the tank is at a proper temperature for the crab.  They will need the privacy during this time so nothing will bother their molting.  Once they are in their own tank you should leave the crab alone as much as possible, just give it water everyday.

So here is a list of things that may occur when your hermit crab is ready to molt :

– Digging more than usual

– Change in behavior (becoming more energetic or more lethargic)

– Eating and drinking more

– Change in appearance

Just remember molting is a natural process so there is not much for you to do except to put them in a new tank with plenty of food and water and just give them some privacy.